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The third round of the Development and Skills Enhancement Award is now open. This post-doctoral opportunity is available for individuals based within NIHR Infrastructure/ Schools who meet the criteria to be an NIHR Academy member, and is open three times a year. The NIHR is particularly keen to see applications from people wishing to develop skills and experience in the following three areas: Entrepreneurship and working with industry, Health Data Science and Clinical Trials.

Please note that from January 2020, the definition for NIHR Academy members based within Infrastructure and Schools has been updated:

An NIHR Academy member based within NIHR Infrastructure or Capacity Building Structures should satisfy all three of the bullets points below:

  • Be undertaking a formal training/career development award, which should meet all of the following criteria: be competitive, include a training plan and have a defined end point (such as an application for further funding).
  • Receive at least 25% funding from the NIHR* for salary/stipend over the lifetime of the individual’s award.
  • Be hosted in a setting with a remit for research capacity development** 

* for ARCs funding can be from NIHR or from an official co-funding partner

** This includes: NIHR BRCs, PSTRCs, ARCs, SPCR, SPHR, SSCR.

What is the Development and Skills Enhancement Award?

The Development and Skills Enhancement award is a post-doctoral level award which was launched in May 2019. It is aimed at supporting NIHR Academy Members to gain specific skills and experience to support the next phase of their research career and to make them more competitive in the next funding application.  

More information about the award on the NIHR website:


To be eligible you must:

  • Be a current member of the NIHR Academy who has not submitted a DSE application in the previous round
  • Apply within 12 months of your previous NIHR award finishing. This does not include any time taken off for statutory leave
  • For clinical academic applications: have completed relevant pre-registration training
  • Have a proposed host who is an English HEI, NHS body or other provider of health and/or care services
  • Hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted your thesis for examination at the time of application. You must have been awarded the PhD or MD by the time you start.

Applications open on 8 January 2020 and close on 31 March 2020 at 1pm. The award will be available to start from August - November 2020.   

What can the funding be used for?

The awards will cover the salary of the applicant for the duration of the award, in addition to training and development costs up to £5,000, conference costs up to £1,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000. FEC will not be covered for this level of award.


In our Development and Skills Enhancement Award webinar (recorded in May 2019), colleagues from the NIHR Academy Personal Awards Team discussed:

  • An overview of the award
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Scope of the funding
  • NIHR's expectations from the host organisation
  • The three highlighted themes: health data science, entrepreneurship and working with industry, and clinical trials
  • Key dates for applying and starting the award
  • FAQs.

Watch the recorded webinar on Youtube: